Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Serving others through your writing - Writing Workshop Series

Serving others through your writing

I know this might be a strange topic for an aspiring writer, serving others. I know many, many years ago when I first thought of becoming a writer it was really all about what I wanted to write, how I could see it on television or made into movies. I saw myself on the top charts and best seller lists. I was so excited about that. So I set out to write what I thought would accomplish that goal. This was in 1990 when I began writing a book called "Star". It was about a woman that wanted to be a movie star and she was willing to do anything to get it. The more I wrote, the worse I felt about writing it. I kept pushing the thought away, but as I came to the last few chapters of the book, I could no longer push it off. Finally I asked the question, why is this book bothering me?

The answer I got was this, "Would you be proud to put your name on this book?" "What you are writing, will it make a positive impact on the lives of the readers?" and "What gift are you giving them with this book?" Well the be quite honest, it was not about the reader, it was about the writer, me! What I wanted was a book "I thought" would make me famous. 

What did I do with that book, you might ask? I deleted it right then and there. I asked God what do you want me to write. He gave me a complete series of books for youth (which are written, but not yet published). From that moment to now, I always ask myself these questions, "what gift am I giving to my readers" "How can this book positively impact the reader" and "am I proud to put my name on this book?"

 I have to be able to answer yes to all three questions, otherwise I am not writing the book. I have to have the end goal in mind as I write. If I am telling my life story, I don't want to give you all the details, if I am not also including the life lessons God allowed me to learn. The only reason for giving my story is not to make me look good, but to be a hand reaching back towards my brother or sister and helping them to climb higher. So while I still would love to make some movies (I call them now "Made for Church Movies"), see my books reach some high standards in the reading arena, I am content to make life impacts one at a time, even if it is a slower process. Hear me, I am not saying I don't want my books in more hands, I am simply stating I am not willing to compromise what I believe I need to write to make that happen.

I believe you must see your gift of writing as one given to you by God for the purpose of serving others. Think about the spiritual gifts God gives to His people. We have heard it preached enough to know the gifts are not FOR us, but they are to work THROUGH us, FOR others. I believe it is the same with our gift of writing. This ability to look at life and create poetry or words that inspire, challenge or even ignite passion is a godly gift. And with that gift we should willing be ready to use it to serve others.

Does this mean you don't want to make an income from your writing? I am not saying that, what I am saying is use this gift with care. Write what you would feel honored to put your name to. Are you writing to inspire others, challenge others, encourage others or even help others see their value and worth.

I guess part of the reason why I am writing this today is because I have read a lot of books of new writers. I believe they have a story to tell, but somewhere in the process they lost focus of the reader and the story become just about them. I have read stories where people simply told about their sexual activities, but never explained the reason why that was included. What did that add to the story? How was this going to help your reader? What was the reader to glean from this information? As writers we have one of the greatest tools in our hands, WORDS. When we use them correctly they can make a difference. So I encourage each of us to use our writing to serve those that will read our work. When it's all said and done, the greatest reward is knowing a life has been inspired, changed, encouraged or made whole because of the words on the pages of my book. Just my rambling thoughts today.

Tri-Production publishing company is in development. We seek your continued prayers as we prepare to launch our company in 2015 (if the Lord allows). Until next time, keep writing!

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